FACULTY

EMILY WILLIAMS

Emily began her dance training in Orange County at the age of three. Since then, her love of dance has grown exponentially and she intensified her training in commercial dance by working with a multitude of instructors and coaches.  In pursuit of widening her artistic experience, she has studied Musical Theater at the Arts and Learning Conservatory and Ballet, Theatre, and Visual Arts at the Orange County School of the Arts.  At 15 years old, she began teaching Princess Pre-Ballet and has since widened her teaching experience to include all levels and ages of most commercial dance styles, with specific expertise in training students in technical leaps and turns, as well as finding a new love for broadway and rhythm tap choreography.  Her first love still remains in lyrical and contemproary - winning special judges awards and being recognized for her choreography at a variety of regional and national competitions. She strives to advance in her academic passions as well, pursuing a degree in Genetics at the University of California, Irvine. Emily has performed and choreographed at UCI with the Bare Bones Dance Theatre, and in the OCC Student Dance concert. She has choreographed for Newport Platinum Dance Academy and Odyssey Dance Academy’s competition team training and helping her students to challenge themselves throughout the year. Emily is known for her attention to technique and advanced training but also loves to teach beginning students and share her love for dance.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

KAELIE MANN

Kaelie Mann graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Boston Conservatory in 2014 with a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance. She trained in classical ballet and modern techniques under master teachers including Adriana Suarez, Donna Silva, Marcus Schulkind, and Richard Colton. While at the Boston Conservatory she danced lead roles in Twyla Tharp’s Eight Jelly Rolls, Dwight Rhoden’s Fits of Hissy, Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June Suite, Daniel Pelzig’sTrio in A Minor, and Francesca Harper’s A Root in Liberty.

After graduating, Kaelie joined Nashville Ballet as a second company member where she danced corps roles in company productions including Paul Vasterling’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. She started teaching ballet and taking pedagogy classes in the Vaganova technique in 2011, but truly found her passion for teaching through her heavy involvement with Nashville Ballet’s community outreach program. Kaelie believes that dance has a transformative power and should be accessible to everyone. She is so excited to back in her hometown of Orange County and to be teaching the talented artists at Odyssey Dance Academy!  

KELLY HESP

Kelly Hesp was born and raised in Newport Beach, California. She began dancing at Irvine Dance Academy and spent over ten years at Focus Dance Center as a competitive dancer. Throughout her early years, she trained in various styles of dance including jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet, and hip-hop. During high school, she danced with Orchesis Dance Company at Corona Del Mar, where she was given the opportunity to be captain of her team for two years and was able to choreograph and perform for their annual concerts, rallies and other venues. Kelly has choreographed for Odyssey Dance Academy’s competition team and is known for her vivacious teaching style and creative choreography. Kelly is a dance and communication major at Chapman University where she continues to train in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, and ballroom. She has performed in the annual Chapman American Celebration event and is apart of the Chapman Dance Alliance where she choreographs and performs at their annual show. Kelly is excited to perform with the Chapman Dance Tour this year, which tours throughout Orange and LA counties, as well as Las Vegas. Kelly is a certified barre instructor at Everbarre in Irvine and enjoys combining her passion for dance and fitness. She also teaches master classes for Orchesis Dance Company. Kelly has a clear passion for team unity and strives to create an atmosphere where all students will learn and advance with each other.

KRISTEN BROWNELL

Kristen has been dancing since the age of three and started competing not long after. When she began winning many awards and getting recognized out of her groups, her parents decided to bring her to Just Plain Dancin' , where she spent most of her training and grew to be more competitive. She also competed on her high school dance team at Santiago High School was captain her last two years. During her senior year, she was recognized out of more than 100 dancers and was awarded “The Magical Performer” of the weekend by LA Dance Magic, receiving a scholarship along with it. Performing for others has always been Kristen’s biggest passion and it shows when she dances. After High school, Kristen went on to compete with the Orange Coast College Dance Team and won two national titles in Orlando, FL.

While Kristen loves performing, she also loves teaching and choreographing. She has taught and choreographed for many studios and schools throughout Southern California. Her choreography has received many overall awards and has been recognized for special awards by judges. While she is trained in all styles, Kristen has a soft spot for lyrical and contemporary. She loves to encourage dancers to really use their emotions along with having great technique. Her ultimate goal is to make people feel something when they take class with her or watch her choreography.

Professionally, Kristen has been honored to work with many well-known choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Napoleon D’umo, D.J. Guthrie, Jackie Sleight, and Dan Karaty.  She has spent the last 8 years at The Disneyland Resort, performing in the Entertainment Department. She has been privileged to perform in many parades, shows, and media events. While teaching and Disney are a big part of Kristen’s life, she is also currently going to school to get her teaching credential. She loves working with children of all ages and is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with everyone here at Odyssey Dance Academy.

SARAH BOARDMAN

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Sarah Boardman is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer currently based in Orange County, California.  After years of dabbling in various performing arts including acting, singing, and playing the piano, flute, and violin, she began her dance training at the age of eleven and swiftly fell in love with moving. In May of 2019 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Chapman University, where she had the honor of training with and performing works by Jennifer Backhaus, Julianne O’Brien, and Liz Maxwell.

During her collegiate career, she had the opportunity to present five original choreographic works, as well as many more outside of the university setting. She has received multiple choreographic honors, including the Chapman University Dance Department award for Outstanding Choreography in 2018 and 2019, and the award for Outstanding Choreography at Spotlight Dance Cup in Portland, Oregon.  

Professionally, Sarah has performed at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim for many years and appeared as a featured dancer on two episodes of CBS’s The Bold and The Beautiful.  Sarah is dedicated to the production of interesting, thought-provoking work, creating holistic learning experiences, and insisting upon kindness and authenticity in an often strident industry, both from herself and those she works with.   

MARGOT GARRETT

Margot Garrett was born in South Carolina, but has lived in Nashville, TN most of her life. She started dancing at age 3 and has loved it ever since. Margot has trained in Modern, African, Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Tap, Improvisation, Pointe, and more. She attended Nashville School of the Arts as a dance major, where she furthered her love for dance/choreography. She also grew up dancing competitively, which she absolutely loved. 

Margot loves to share her passion for dance with kids of all ages. After graduating, she teamed up with her sister Madolyn Garrett as a choreography duo “MMchoreography” & owned their own dance studio called MM Dance Company. This started in 2015 and they have worked together ever since. Margot has taught and choreographed for multiple companies/studios. She was a core faculty member at Millennium Dance Complex Nashville. Along with Margot sharing her love for dance all around, her goal is to share life lessons to dancers and fully pour into them. Margot absolutely loves being able to connect with each one of her students on a personal level! Margot is super grateful for the opportunities to teach and mentor motivated and passionate dancers all around. She feels very blessed to be able to do what she loves every single day of her life, while sharing her love for dance with other aspiring artists. Her main goal in life is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves & not seeking the approval of others! 

Margot is now a professional industry dancer and choreographer based out of Los Angeles, California. She is currently represented by Fresh Talent Group (FTG). A few of Margot’s credits include Carrie Underwood, Jake Owen, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, SONY, Netflix TV Series “Making It In Music City”, USA Networks “Real Country”, and more.

WILL TRAN

Will Tran has been dancing and doing gymnastics since he was 14 and has been teaching since he was 18. He started when he was in high school and did both competitively with his high school and his studio. After high school, he graduated from Chapman University as a dance major with a minor in advertising. While at Chapman, he started the nationally ranked dance team who has won USA Nationals every year since 2009. During college, Will also worked for Disney where he was a performer for many parades and shows. He entertained many guests and celebrities for 8.5 years.  After college, Will joined Pace Elite All Stars Dance Team where they were chosen to be Team USA for Pom and Jazz and they were the gold medalist at International Cheer Union and Dance Worlds in 2012. Now he is currently getting his teaching credentials from CSULB and is teaching and choreographing all over SoCal for all kind of students and famous YouTubers. 

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